The first beers brewed under Little Earth Project were produced in autumn 2015 and released in late summer 2016. At this time, brewer Tom Norton was brewing primarily clean cask beer under Mill Green Brewery in the village of Edwardstone, Suffolk, and was looking for a new challenge. Growing up locally with a family who made natural East Anglian cider for most of his life, fermentation had always been of interest, and the idea of blending those ideas led Tom to experiment with using cider lees/yeast to ferment his beers.
The resulting beers are styled similarly to wild, sour and barrel aged beers found in Belgium and vary from golden sours to dark sour porters, Flanders reds as well as blends of ciders and saisons. Many are aged for at least a year in a variety of oak barrels, with some reaching 2 to 3 years before blending or foraged fruits, flowers or herbs are added – all of which are sourced or foraged locally.
Brewing is led by the seasons, with most being done in winter with the occasional aid of coolships for spontaneous fermentation. A small patch of land local to the brewery yields a hop crop of 300 organic plants over 13 varieties – including classic English hops such as Fuggles, Boadicea and Goldings.
The team remains small, being run by Tom with help from his Dad and Sister. Tom’s girlfriend, Dani Mountain joined in 2018, managing both the operations and admin of the brewing and pub business since.
With a specific focus on renewable and sustainable practices, the brewery was built with low embodied energy materials such as lyme plaster/foundations, sheep wool insulation and local bricks. A combination of solar panels and a wood boiler work together to heat the water used to brew and the wood used comes from locally coppiced trees. A borehole 60m under the brewery provides water for both the brewery and onsite pub, the Edwardstone White Horse Inn, which was taken under lease by LEP in 2021. With 5 draught LEP lines, alongside 11 keg lines featuring indie breweries from around the UK as well as a handful of cask lines and both still and sparkling ciders on offer, it’s a little drinks oasis off the beaten track.